JAY – A recent fishing adventure took me to the shores of the mighty Androscoggin River. This river flows from the northern tip of New Hampshire to Brunswick, Maine where it joins the Kennebec and then enters Atlantic waters. However, my fishing spot wasn’t in the more brackish waters to the south. Instead, my companions and I picked a spot in Franklin County. There is a great little section of bass habitat right around Jay Dam (DeLorme M19, E-5). In order to get to the spot, one would have to travel south on Route 4 out of Wilton, and when entering Jay, take a right on Riley Street, which brings you across the river. After crossing, the first right will take you down a short dirt road that may or may not be gated. Either way, pull off to the side and go enjoy numerous easy-access fishing spots!
My fishing companions were two friends, Jill and James, and we embarked for the river on a sunny June afternoon. Jill was the inspiration behind this fishing endeavor, for she wanted a taste of Maine’s bass fishing to compare to her home town in Illinois. She was up visiting for a little under a week and we had already gone trolling for salmon. The slow troll wasn’t what she was accustomed to; she persistently said that bass fishing was her passion as well as her forte. Jill had told us of stories back home and therefore talked the talk, but when we got to the river she quickly showed us she could walk the walk.
We got to the river at about noon — arguably the worst time to toss in a lure. Regardless, we had come to catch some fish, and there are times when you can’t let the time of day stress you out too much. The three of us only planned on taking a couple casts at this first hole because the water was high and the current ferocious: a difficult situation to effectively work our bass jigs. However, after taking no more than three casts, Jill quickly breaks the skunk with one of the bigger small-mouth bass I have seen in a while: I’d guess an honest 18 inches! The fish bit her rubber worm right before the jig-head broke the surface next to shore. After pictures had been taken and excited conversation held, the three of us left that particular hole with the silt and sticks kicked up from the bass still being swept downstream. On our way out, James and I shared a look that meant precisely, “Wow, she showed us…”
And only in three casts.
Although it didn’t share the size of Jill’s bass, I eventually did land that suspenseful first fish half an hour later, though I wasn’t half so proud. I judged it to be no more that 14 inches. I have thought for a long time though, that pound for pound, a small-mouth bass will give any other fish a run for its money. There will be times I think I have a good two-pound lunker on, when it comes to the boat as a feisty 10-inch bass! Most bass will be a rewarding catch for the fight alone. James would later catch a similar size bass that rivaled mine but still would have been swallowed by Jill’s.
After spending a solid three on the Androscoggin shores, we hopped in the old, muffer-less Volkswagen convertible and headed for home. All-in-all the fishing around the dam turned out to be pretty good. Even Jill who was used to action-packed Illinois fishing was impressed, mostly due to the size of the bass we saw throughout the day. The spot is extremely accessible and a perfect place to bring a child or walk a dog. In fact, if you are employed in the area, it would be a great place throw in a line after work. In the immediate location of the dam there are a number of walkable paths, spots to lay blankets for picnics, and great views of the river for sight-seeing and photography. There is even a portapotty for any die-hard anglers looking to spend some serious time on the river. Of course it’s the fishing that I recommend. James, Jill, and I took leave of the place after each of us had successfully hooked, fought, and released a respectable size bass. Although the actual timing of the departure probably had something to do with the Jurassic Park-like mosquitoes that began attacking out of the long grasses. If you do make your way down to this part of the river, or any part of the river for that matter, remember the bug-dope! Happy fishin’.